I was stunned last Sunday when I read that Private Bradley E. Manning, after taking solemn oaths to protect his country and his fellow soldiers, decided that he no longer personally liked the concept of America’s participation in relieving Afghanistan of the Taliban. Based upon his mood, he allegedly released over 90,000 classified documents via the Internet to Julien Assange, who is the person behind WikiLeaks.
Mr. Assange released the documents to the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel instead of to the world at once, because (as he is quoted as saying): “You’d think the bigger and more important the document is, the more likely it will be reported on, but that’s absolutely not true. It’s about supply and demand. Zero supply equals high demand; it has value. As soon as we release the material, the supply goes to infinity, so the perceived value goes to zero.”
Isn’t that just stunning? The value of the documents, according to WikiLeaks, is determined by the means of distribution and not by the content? Is this some kind of media game for attention and power?
Let me first say that I believe in the value and courage of some whistleblowing, for example, when there’s concrete evidence that a company knew its product was dangerous and that they accepted the fact some people would die because they were looking at their bottom line, and it was cheaper to pay for the deaths than change the design of their product. That situation has occurred – in the car industry, as you may remember – and that form of whistleblowing is specifically geared only toward saving human lives.
Pvt. Bradley Manning enlisted in the Army in 2007, and was working as an Army intelligence analyst, examining classified information. This twenty-two year old decided on his own that US foreign policy was incorrect, and tracked down a former computer hacker in Sacramento, California named Adrian Lamo, who he thought would be a soul-less mate, and told him how he had downloaded the classified information: “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’” he told Lamo. While pretending to sing along to Lady Gaga, Manning would actually be erasing the music from the CD and recording intelligence onto it instead.
A disgruntled pipsqueak with minimal social skills finally finds his power…putting his fellow soldiers and his country at risk. Now, that’s being a man?
Adrian Lamo is the hero here. Fearing that the soldier’s leaks could put American lives at risk, he went to the FBI. “Had I not acted, I would have always wondered had I gotten someone killed,” Lamo said. Adrian Lamo is an American hero.
Adrian Lamo has received threats, including threats of death. What?? I think he should be awarded the highest medal America gives to a civilian. Talk to me about the hypocrisy of supporting Manning for so-called whistleblowing, but not Lamo.
Lamo reports Manning wanted Hillary Clinton to wake up and have a heart attack, and that Manning was trying to be an “army of one” and stop the war in Afghanistan, which Manning felt was unjust. “He did so with the stated intention of disrupting United States’ foreign policy.” Imagine…
Lamo said, “I don’t think that this is going to do us any good in terms of trying to build relationships and maintain relationships with our allies in the war on terror.”
Here’s more hypocrisy: Julien Assange has WikiLeaks well insulated (which is sort of counter to his avowed position to make everyone’s “privacies” public, even if it puts lives at risk). Key members of WikiLeaks are known only by their initials (“M,” for example) even deep within WikiLeaks, where communications are conducted by encrypted online chat services.
Will Julien Assange – “Mr. WikiLeaks” – think positively about the whistleblower that leaks all his information and that of his network? I don’t think so.
What infuriates me even more is this situation is not being received with a huge, national, shaking reaction by either major political party or any aspect of our news media! None of the major players, including the so-called liberal mainstream media, nor pundits like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and none of our politicians on either side of the aisle have pitched their tents to deal with this egregious and evil assault on the military and the United States of America. Why no ferocious outrage? I’ve seen more attention paid to the stupid shenanigans of Lindsay Lohan.
Perhaps it’s because this is so big – bigger than Jane Fonda sitting, smiling, on a North Vietnamese tank, for the world-wide press. This is the concerted attempt first of one lonely, maladjusted private to betray his country and his oaths, with little or no regard for the final impact on his country and his fellow soldiers, and second, the enthusiastic response of WikiLeaks to dispense national security information to the world for the power of it, and the desire to destroy our country.
I guess this is so big a situation it boggles the mind and makes it impossible for people to neatly and simply wrap their brains around it. It’s easier to watch reality television or listen to pots calling kettles racist.
A newspaper leaking information is something we can deal with. The Internet dispenses information without any controls – WikiLeaks has no address and no accountability. That is hugely frightening. So, I think this is why there is little outrage.
I suppose the right thing is to court martial Private Bradley Manning. I pray this ends with a firing squad, and they ask me to participate.
Betraying your country because you are an unhappy person just shows you how mundane an appearance evil can make.